Johnny Wactor Shares His Fitness Tips

How would you describe your approach to nutrition? “I eat pretty healthy, for the most part, but I do have a sweet tooth, so I will have myself a cookie fairly regularly. I eat pretty clean, mostly vegan or plant-based, but I do eat fish. I’m vegan- pescatarian — vegantarian? That’s been my nutrition probably since April. I started eating more plant-based mostly for health reasons. I decided to give it a try and see how my body responded, and so far, so good. It’s been a lot easier to do and maintain than I thought it would be. I just try to eat a bunch of greens and grains and fungus — I love mushrooms! And I’ll treat myself to salmon or trout every now and again.”

What do you recommend for people who are interested in going plant-based? “When I first started, I found myself eating the same things over and over again because I just wasn’t used to cooking without meat. You can go online and find all sorts of plant-based recipes, like vegan versions of foods with meat in them, but another thing I did was, if I ordered something vegan at a restaurant that was tasty, I would try to re-create it at home. That way, I knew I was making something I would like.”

I know you’re an avid rock climber, but what else do you do to stay fit? “Well, I don’t go to the gym anymore [because of Covid], but I have basic stuff at home. I have a pull-up bar and a dip bar and exercise bands. Most of what I do is body weight-based. I do something physical every day for at least 30 minutes, more for my mind and my soul and health than for aesthetics. Without exercise, I’m cranky!”

You’ve worked as a physical trainer in the past. What’s your best advice to someone who is starting an exercise program? “The first thing to do is to take initiative. Pick days and a time and put it in your schedule, whether in your iPhone or you write it down, starting with three or four times a week, and just be consistent and committed to working out for that time you’ve allotted — even if you’re feeling cruddy on those days, because those days happen. There are a bunch of free workouts that you can find on YouTube or Instagram. Type in ‘easy workouts for beginners’ and all sorts of things will pop up! There are so many body weight exercises you can do with a bunch of variations for your fitness level, whether it’s push-ups or push-ups on your knees. You can always do something that is tailor-made to your abilities at the present and then as you progress, which you will, because you’re being consistent, you can make the exercises more difficult or extend your workout for a longer period of time.”

Johnny’s Top Three Tips

• “My go-to healthy snack is a Lära bar. It’s made of mostly whole ingredients without a bunch of added sugars. They’re about 200 calories. Nuts are also good snacks, and a big old glass of water helps to satiate hunger.”

• “Try replacing cheese and mayonnaise in salads and sandwiches with avocado. It’ll give you that creamy texture that your mouth craves and the fat that your body craves, but it’s good fat.”

• “If you know how to swim, I think swimming is the king of cardio. It’s total-body and also low-impact on your joints, so it’s one of those sports you can do for a very long time.”